College's 'Infomercials' Prod Kids to Graduate on Time

University of Akron uses unconventional approach
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2014 12:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – The University of Akron, like so many other colleges, has surveyed all those students lazily meandering their way through a five- or six-year plan and found them lacking. So, as the Akron Beacon Journal reports, the school is taking a rather non-traditional stab at getting students out of its classrooms and into graduation caps (and presumably haircuts and real jobs) in the rather more traditional four years. UA is prodding students to maintain a full 15-credit courseload via "infomercials" that push its Finish in Time effort as "a revolutionary new product that work best when you take 15 credit hours per semester." "But wait! There's more!"

"It's a serious topic, but we wanted to do something to get the attention of the audience we were going to," says a UA marketing rep. "We went for cheeky, not preachy." Though the videos tout the very real student benefits of on-time graduation—lower student debt, earning income sooner, and, ahem, "a craving for an extremely large burrito"—the school also stands to benefit via state funding, academic ranking, and reputation. And it's working: UA saw a 28% surge in freshmen taking at least 15 credits, pushing its four-year graduation rates from around 40% to more than 50%.

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